The Argument; Dis-functionality in Action

I witnessed shameful public argument that took place between a Father and one of his two small Sons. The argument was over whether the boy, about six was going to eat what was ordered for him at dinner, or a hamburger which was not an option.

“I want a hamburger.” argument

“You’re getting a sandwich.”

“I don’t want that, I want to eat a hamburger.”

In this moment, it was clear to me, this little boy was eating more hamburgers than he should be, and the Father should have paused at hearing the boy’s statement. That however was not the case.

“You are going to eat a sandwich.”

“No, I’m not, I want a hamburger.”

I was sure in this moment, the father would utter something sensible.

“No, tell me you are going to eat a sandwich!”

The little boy tightened his lips, and stood his ground. I thought the father would notice the posture change, but the father was now changing the argument into who is in charge or control. Silence for a few seconds.

“Fine, you are at least going to eat the sandwich.”

“No, I don’t want a sandwich, I want a hamburger”

Anyone up to suggesting a different response from the father, like, ‘okay, the next meal will be ______, you can eat then.

“OK then, I want you to eat a sandwich”, Said in a cracking voice because the control freak father was in public and could not hit his son as he wanted. The Mother finally started to notice the argument, but did not intervene.

“I don’t want a sandwich.”

“Tell me you will eat the sandwich”, three or four decibels louder. The father now has the command of everyone in the room. The Mother is visible becoming frightened. The little brother, is becoming agitated, he knows what is coming.

“I don’t want a sandwich.” Now the little boy is hardening himself for what he thinks will happen next.

The father almost slobbering at the mouth with anger, the Mother terrified what’s going to happen will be in public (not what’s going to happen I think, but that it will happen in public) and starts to intervene. The father/husband cuts her off with a look.

“Just say you are going to eat a sandwich”, almost slurred, the anger level has risen so high.

The little boy stands there stiff as a board, saying nothing, looking really scared. He’s at his breaking point. The crowd is becoming concerned, this is not a discussion over dinner between a parent and a child. I am ready to step in as is another couple of people. It has gone too far.

The Mother, speaking through her fear, tells the father to please stop. The little brother says the same thing to the father.

The anger can be seen pulsing through the father. He is consumed by it. He wants to hit his son I am sure, or worse.

After a very quiet ten or so seconds as the father stares at his son, and tries to control his angers, he spits out, “Sit in your chair, and shut up.”

I felt bad for the boy, and his mother after they got behind closed doors. I felt sure a beating was coming.

The only question left, is will father beat one of them so badly they are hospitalized, or will his blood pressure go so high he will have a stroke first. I hope for the latter. I wish there was a way to prevent for former, but I am sure private beatings are already the norm in that families house.

If this post sounds like you or someone in your family, tell someone, and go find or ask for help. These situations never end well for anyone.